June 6 2024  |  Industry News

Lima Airport Partners to introduce "airport city" concept in South America

By Laura Shirk

The new Jorge Chávez Airport in Lima, Peru, will introduce the “airport city” concept in South America; this will result in the integration of airport operations and smart infrastructure with the capital city

Lima Airport Partners (LAP) is on a mission to create the first “airport city” in South America at Jorge Chávez International Airport (Lima Airport) in Peru. Centrally located on the western coast of South America, Lima serves as a strategic air connection point, supported by its proximity to the Port of Callao.

Considering the expansion, the new Jorge Chávez Airport will cover 940 hectares (three times larger than the current airport size) and deliver smart infrastructure integrated with Lima that is key to the economic growth of Peru and the development of the capital city into a regional hub. Already crossed off the to do list is the building of a new control tower and second landing strip, which started operations in April 2023.

“We are introducing the concept of an airport city, which does not exist in South America, but does exist in Europe, in airports like Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, and Barcelona, among others. This is a broader real estate development concept and plan that we start with, where we integrate various economic asset classes, complementing them with the surrounding area, with the Callao region, and with Metropolitan Lima,” explains Norbert Onkelbach, Chief Commercial Officer at Lima Airport Partners.

The project aims to integrate airport operations with multiple commercial areas, cargo and transport zones, business centers, hotels, offices, stores and other businesses linked to the economic activities in Callao. “We want Lima to become the regional headquarters for various companies in the aviation and non-aviation business, and to develop a special economic zone connecting sea and air cargo to take advantage of the proximity of the port and airport,” he says. “Overall, the airport city concept is an umbrella concept to integrate the interest and development of our stakeholders within the airport’s ecosystem. We consider ourselves as airport platform managers in that regard.”

According to Onkelbach, LAP is expecting to secure new destinations and greater connectivity in Latin America, North America, and the Caribbean paired with stronger direct traffic to European hub airports.

Displaying more non-aeronautical activity, Onkelbach says airports are increasingly becoming engines of macro-growth and socio-economic development for the region and/or country. Lima Airport Partners recently conducted an economic impact study of the activity generated at Lima Airport and found that it is supported by 155 businesses including airlines, concessionaires, transportation companies, security firms, cleaning services and a wide portfolio of other providers. In 2022, the airport community contributed US$1.4 billion to Peru’s GDP.

“Overall, we believe the airport city in Lima, Peru, will not only redefine the local airport industry, but also consolidate its role as a hub for sustainable job creation in the region,” comments Onkelbach.

On track to open in December, the state-of-the-art passenger terminal will feature expandable infrastructure to enable growth capacity after 2025, as well as promote sustainable transport and consist of automation systems and biometric records

Passenger terminal update and opening

The airport’s new single passenger terminal, which will have an initial capacity of 30 million passengers per year, is scheduled to open by December 18 of this year. After the opening, the airport will bring an additional 10 million passenger capacity by the end of 2025. With this, Lima Airport will have a capacity of 40 million passengers per year in a total space of 270,000 square meters.

As shared by LAP, the terminal’s modern design is inspired by the hummingbird of the Nazca culture. The five-level infrastructure will provide passenger services including check-in, arrivals, departures, lounges, food and beverage and a shopping complex with pedestrian access to the city. The five levels will be accompanied by three boarding docks for national, international and swing flights.

Providing an update on its construction, Onkelbach reveals the terminal is more than 85% complete, in accordance with the commitments made with the Government of Peru. “This achievement translates into the completing of significant construction milestones such as the implementation of the first boarding bridges, installation of a state-of-the-art baggage system, construction of the internal vehicular access viaduct that will connect with the city, start of the asphalt paving of parking areas and access roads, as well as the installation of internal finishes, among other improvements that will offer passengers a state-of-the-art travel experience,” he says.

The terminal will feature expandable infrastructure to enable growth capacity after 2025, as well as promote sustainable transport and consist of automation systems, biometric records and LED lighting. It will be the first air terminal in South America to include a seismic isolation system, technology that isolates the movement of the structure in the case of an earthquake, and a remote aircraft traffic management system.

We have chosen the date of December 18 because it has less impact on air operations. The opening will take approximately six hours and has been scheduled during the early morning hours when there are fewer ongoing operations. This decision follows a study that LAP conducted on the processes and flows to determine the optimal opening date,” says Onkelbach.

The new passenger terminal will provide passenger services including check-in, arrivals, departures, lounges, food and beverage and a shopping complex with pedestrian access to the city

Retail strategy and sense of place

When asked how the duty free channel factored into the planning and decision-making of the airport city, Onkelbach said LAP’s retail strategy is built on fundamental principles: customer focus and innovation, a deep connection with local culture and the execution of sustainable practices. “Through these principles, we reinforce our commitment to enhancing passenger experiences and fostering a safe and sustainable environment. Customer focus and innovation are pivotal in engaging with customers and passengers, necessitating quick adaptation to meet their expectations and needs through digital and innovative approaches,” he shares.

As part of Lima Airport Partners’ vision to elevate the passenger experience and inspire enthusiasm for its offerings, the company has introduced innovative concepts including a central commercial plaza with a unique space for travelers to immerse themselves in Peruvian heritage while awaiting departure, international and domestic marketplaces that feature food halls celebrating local gastronomy and casual dining experiences created by globally renowned Peruvian chefs. Plus, LAP’s commercial partners are introducing flagship stores displaying luxury Peruvian apparel and jewelry crafted from alpaca and vicuña. “Peruvian culture holds a central position in our strategy, weaving elements that evoke a bespoke and distinctive sense of place, leaving passengers with a memorable impression and deeper connection to Peru,” Onkelbach continues.

Lima Airport Partners has established partnerships with over 30 retail partners, collectively shaping a new landscape at Lima Airport. According to Onkelbach, among these partners are global travel retail leaders like Lagardère Travel Retail in the duty free and food and beverage categories and Morpho Travel Experience for specialty retail. “Together, with the real estate activities outside the terminal, we consider the airport retail portfolio an integral part of our ecosystem and manage both in the same way: customer focused with a strong commercial partnership approach,” he concludes.

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